AzCA announces new CEO

Arizona’s Children Association (AzCA) announced that its board of directors has selected Jacob Schmitt as the organization’s next President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. This decision follows the passing of the Association’s late President and Chief Executive Officer, Denise Ensdorff, in May of 2019.

“When we lost Denise in May, we felt the loss of her spirit,” said Anna Osborn, AzCA board chair. “During this difficult time, it was crucial to continue caring for children and families and we knew we needed to find someone who had the ability to lead us through this transition of unprecedented change. Jacob not only embodies the qualities essential to AzCA, but we trust he is committed to our mission.”

On behalf of the board, Osborn expressed confidence in the decision to appoint Schmitt following a comprehensive search process, noting that his passion and experience is what the agency needs to move forward. 

Schmitt began his work at AzCA in 2013 and was responsible for AzCA’s performance and quality improvement program as well as compliance with all federal, state, contractual and accreditation requirements. He served as the chief compliance officer and director of quality before recently moving into the role of interim president and CEO.

Schmitt has more than 20 years of experience in providing and overseeing social service programs in both public and private sectors. He holds a bachelor’s degree in special studies from Cornell College and a master’s degree in public administration from Bellevue University.

Doris Gantos joins Gilbane Development Company

Gilbane Development Company (“GDCo”), the real estate development, financing, and ownership arm of Gilbane, Inc., is pleased to welcome Doris Gantos as Vice President/Regional Director of Multifamily for the Mid-Atlantic region.  With over 25 years of experience, Ms. Gantos will be based in Gilbane’s Arlington, VA office and will be responsible for strategic growth of the Company’s market rate and mixed-use development in the region. 

Prior to joining Gilbane Development Company, Ms. Gantos held leadership roles with Oculus Development and Advisory Services and The Bozzuto Group, and has extensive experience in multifamily, including affordable housing, as well as direct property management oversight experience for a portfolio of over 22,000 units.  She is a member of District of Columbia Building Industry Association (DCBIA), Leadership Arlington, and Urban Land Institute (ULI).

Nationally, Gilbane Development Company has developed more than $7 billion in real estate and has more than 10,000 units of housing completed/underway. Select projects recently completed or currently underway in the Mid-Atlantic by Gilbane Development Company include The Grove at Parkside, affordable housing in NE Washington, DC; Atworth College Park, a 451-unit transit-oriented, mixed-use apartment community adjacent to College Park Metro stop; Fortitude at Delta Towers, 179 units of affordable housing for seniors in NE Washington; 306 Southern Avenue, 152 units of affordable assisted living; and Altus Towson Row, 214 units of student housing in Towson, MD. 

Chef Lee Hillson returns to T. Cook’s

A culinary veteran of nearly 30 years, Lee Hillson is going back to his roots and returning to the iconic T. Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort and Spa as executive chef where he will lead all food and beverage operations for the historic resort.

Starting in 2000, Chef Hillson made a name for himself at T. Cook’s during his 12-year tenure where he began as sous chef and later promoted to executive chef. He left a lasting impression with his rustic Mediterranean cuisine and signature accoutrements like the orange marmalade, made from the resort’s on-site citrus grove, and what’s now become the restaurant’s legendary pesto.

Hailing from England where he started culinary school at 16-years-old, Hillson brings a worldly approach to his cuisine after traveling through the Mediterranean, Hawaiian Islands and Alaska as a guest chef on luxury cruise lines. A James Beard House-featured Chef who has also appeared on the popular Food Network show, Iron Chef America, Hillson has created remarkable meals for luminaries such as President George W. Bush, Barbra Streisand, Princess Diana, Richard Branson, Billy Joel and author, Clive Cussler, to name a few.

Nicole Edgington named CEO of Sunstate Technology Group

Smith Bagley, Inc., the Show Low-based technology company that owns and operates both Cellular One of Northeastern Arizona and Sunstate Technology Group (offices in Phoenix and Show Low), announced that Nicole Edgington has been named Chief Executive Officer of the company’s Sunstate division.  

Over the past twenty years, Nicole has played an integral role in driving the tremendous growth and success of Smith Bagley, Inc., the company that owns both Cellular One and Sunstate Technology Group, a managed IT services provider with offices in Phoenix and Show Low.  

“Nicole’s dynamic leadership style and commitment to customer satisfaction are well-suited for a fast-paced, client-focused Managed IT Services Provider like Sunstate,” said Judd Hinkle, CEO of Smith Bagley, Inc. “We are confident in her ability to lead the way as Sunstate continues to expand its services into markets across the Southwest.”

Nicole and her team at Sunstate believe in a thoughtful, proactive approach to business technology– delivering IT strategy, solutions and support to fit each client’s unique needs and budget.  Within the Sunstate culture Nicole emphasizes the importance of giving back. The company is a proud sponsor of the Arizona Alliance of Nonprofits as well as summer STEM education camps for local kids, and Sunstate employees give back to the community by supporting a wide variety of charities including Arizona Helping Hands. 

Alicia Wadas elected president of the FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association

Elevating her role in the organization that connects business, religious and community leaders with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Alicia Wadas, executive vice president and chief operating officer of leading marketing agency, LAVIDGE, has been elected president of the FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association (FBINCAAA). 

As president, Wadas will work alongside the FBINCAAA National Board to grow the association as needs of its chapters evolve. Specifically, her focus will be to increase community outreach and service and educate the public about the mission and priorities of the FBI.

Wadas has been an active member of the FBINCAAA since 2008 when she graduated from the FBI Phoenix Citizens Academy and eventually became president of the Phoenix Chapter. 

She has been serving the national FBINCAAA mission since 2015, starting as a regional chapter coordinator. Wadas was elected to the national board in 2016 as director of training for 60 chapters nationwide, and in 2017, became vice president communications & conferences.

“I’m deeply appreciative of the honor and the confidence placed in me by the board, the chapters, and the FBI,” Wadas said. “I look forward to working with such a dedicated and talented group of individuals to move forward and continue to serve as ambassadors for the FBI in our communities.”

Mindy Thompson appointed director of career development for West USA Realty

Mindy Thompson, a veteran of assisting real estate licensees in their career development, training, and coaching has been appointed Director of Career Development for West USA Realty, Inc. at their Corporate Offices in Phoenix.

In her new roles, Mindy will lead the company’s efforts to strengthen West USA Realty, Inc.’s brand and services awareness with real estate licensees, key stakeholders, and community leaders.  She will also guide the career decisions of high-production and team focused real estate licensees.

“We are excited to have Mindy join our team enhancing our efforts to grow our agent family throughout the Greater Phoenix Metro markets,” said Todd Menard, Chief Operating Officer for the company. “Mindy brings years of experience as a real estate productivity coach for a national coaching company that will enhance agent focus and production. Her role will also promote building new relationships and communicating our value proposition, services and flexible compensation structure that many agents are unaware of.”